Release Number 8646-23

CFTC Charges Former New York City Commodity Pool Operator with Fraud

January 09, 2023

— The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against Mark A. Ramkishun, a former resident of New York City. The complaint alleges that Ramkishun fraudulently induced individuals in the U.S. to participate in a purported commodity pool called Leo Growl LLC.

In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded fund participants, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.

Case Background

The complaint alleges that beginning in at least March 2019 and continuing through at least September 2021, Ramkishun, acted as an unregistered commodity pool operator to fraudulently solicit and receive funds from more than 30 pool participants for the purpose of trading, among other things, commodity futures and options contracts in the pool. The complaint further alleges that both in the course of soliciting as well as after receiving pool participant funds, Ramkishun knowingly made fraudulent and material misrepresentations and/or omitted material facts about the use of pool participant funds and the profits purportedly earned from Ramkishun’s trading. Furthermore, rather than use all of the pool participant funds to trade in the pool as he had promised, Ramkishun traded less than half of these funds (resulting in net trading losses) and ultimately misappropriated a substantial portion of pool participant funds on personal expenditures and to make Ponzi-type payments to pool participants. The complaint also alleges that Ramkishun failed to operate the pool as a separate entity from himself and commingled his personal funds with pool participant funds in violation of CFTC regulations.

Parallel Criminal Action

In December 2022, Ramkishun was arrested in Florida and subsequently arraigned on a 56-count indictment obtained by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York based on much of the same conduct alleged in the CFTC’s complaint.   

The Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this matter are Daniel Jordan, Kara Mucha, Rishi Gupta, Erica Bodin, and Rick Glaser. 

CFTC’s Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories and Articles, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which provides information about a type of fraud involving individuals and firms, often unregistered, offering investments in commodity pools. The CFTC also strongly urges the public to verify a company’s registration with the Commission before investing funds.  If an entity is unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that entity.  A company’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC.

Customers and other individuals can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the Division of Enforcement via a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online or contact the CFTC Whistleblower Office.  Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected, paid from the CFTC Customer Protection Fund financed through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the CEA.